Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

holy and innocent blood was shed, no Father or Holy Spirit hung in dying agony on the cross, to enable him to pardon the sinner; not so bis Father. He felt no unwillingness to receive the penitent, no inability to forgive : in him the chief of sinners found a Saviour, the weary and heavy laden found rest ; yet he too, we are told, is God, God equal with the Father ; but oh, how unlike that Father! How impotent or unfeeling is God! He cannot do what the meanest and most worthless of the human race every day perform. All who live forgive, forgive without compensation or satisfaction, God alone excepted. But is this the character given of God in the Bible ? Oh, no! there he is a God of mercy, forgiveness, and love, who “ wills not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;" and with him the repentant heart is the pardoned heart. The Bible knows no other God than a God of mercy; not because an infinite ransom has been given, an infinite sacrifice offered to his offended justice, but because he is essentially, in his own nature, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, full of compassion, ready to forgive. No two characters can possibly be more opposite, than the God and Father of the Trinitarian and of the Bible. No two beings can, in feeling and conduct, be more unlike, than the Lord Jesus Christ and his Father, if the opinions of the Trinitarian be true. It is evident that the Trinity, both in disposition and conduct, is “ a house divided against itself;" and yet, if each of the persons be God, it is unaccountably strange they should be so unlike ; and still more, if there be but one Being, one God, that he should, in his different manifestations, be so opposed and contradictory to himself.

I have throughout these communications used the words satisfy and satisfaction, and have said that many professing Christians declare themselves believers in the doctrine that “ Christ died to satisfy his Father's justice,” and “that he made a proper, real, and full satisfaction to his Father, in the sinner's stead.” I have done this, not because I have found such terms in the Holy Scriptures, for no such words are there applied to the Father's justice, but on the authority of the Confession of Faith, the accredited standard of all self-styled orthodox Presbyterian churches, and to which all their members, but more especially their ministers and elders, give, solemnly, and I hope sincerely, in the presence of God, their unfeigned and unqualified assent, and consent to each and every doctrine contained therein, as the confession of their faith. The writers of that book never use the word atonement, probably because it occurs only once in the New Testament: the translators having, invariably, in every other instance, translated the original term reconciliation ; and it may be, also, that the word atonement, in their time, did not signify

satisfaction, and would not, therefore, express the doctrine they intended to teach. Be this, however, as it may, the gospel covenant is one of free grace, inercy, and love, whilst the Confession teaches clearly an infinite satisfaction to the Father's justice, made by Christ, before he would or could pardon the sinner; and therefore stands opposed both to Scripture and to those who believe that Christ died to reconcile man to God, not God to man.

We have thus seen, that the language which the Trinitarian enploys in describing the constitution and mode of God's existence, is utterly unknown to the Bible. It never speaks of a trinity, or three persons in God, much less that each of these three persons is God supreme, each possessed of his own proper attributes, and performing special and peculiar offices; and then commit the absurdity or falsehood of affirming that these “ three Gods” are one God. Still less does it ever hold up to the mind of the worshipper three separate, distinct objects of prayer and adoration. The Trinitarian teaches there is but one God, yet three are to be supremely worshipped ; and the Unitarian, for rejecting this absurd, contradictory, and unscriptural dogma, is denied the Christian name, hopes, and character. With regard to the charaeter of God, too, the Unitarian and the Trinitarian are directly at issue, and their views as widely opposite as heaven and earth. With the one, you are a sinner, though you have never sinned ; "the guilt of Adam's sin is imputed to you." With the other, every man bears his own burden, is answerable for his own transgressions, and for his own alone : “ the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, nor the father the iniquity of the son.” With the one, - original sin," as well as actual transgression, subjects “to the wrath and curse of God, both in this life and that which is to come;" the other proclaims that the soul that sinneth it shall die ; but that we are not guilty, and shall not suffer eternally, for the sin of another. The one teaches that we are elected to eternal life, or reprobated to everlasting misery, by “the infallible and immutable decree of God," and our doom thus fixed, irreversibly and eternally, before we are born; the other, that it is our own conduct, good or bad, that shall fix our future fate ; by a patient continuance in well doing, we seek for glory, honour, and immortality ; by contention and strife, disobedience to the truth, and the practice of unrighteousness, there is indignation and wrath upon every soul of man that doeth evil. With the one, the Father is the being who pardons, but from whom pardon must be purchased, else it will never be obtained ; with the other, it is the spontaneous act of his own free grace to man. With the one, he must receive payment for the debt, before the debtor can go free—the most rigorous deinands of law and justice must be satisfied, else the whole human race must perish everlastingly; with the other, God wills to save all who turn and repent--freely forgives the debt; judgment is his strange work, and mercy his favourite attribute, “for in that he delights, saith the Lord.” Nor can it be true, that, irrespective of either the faith or conduct of his creatures, God has from all eternity, unchangeably and irreversibly, elected some to everlasting life, and decreed others to never-ending misery, whilst he has declared that she will render unto every man according to his deeds;" and Jesus has proclaimed, that in the day of judgment he will reward "every man according to his works.” Still less can it be true, that a God of boundless mercy and forgiveness will not, and cannot, upon repentance, pardon the transgressions of men, until he has received an adequate compensation, when God himself has commanded his people, “Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin;" and Jesus has taught his followers to forgive without any compensation. Nor can the ever-blessed perfections of a God of infinite benevolence and love, be so bounded and curtailed, that the few only shall be saved, whilst the many are consigned to endless perdition, because they have not believed on him of whom they have never heard, embraced what was never offered, nor obeyed what they were never commanded; justice as well as mercy cry aloud in condemnation of so unrighteous a decision. I have thus contrasted the doctrine of the trinity, or one God in three persons, each possessed of infinite, eternal, underived, incommunicable, and yet communicated perfections, with the divine unity, or one God in one person, the Father. There was a time when it could be affirmed, was affirmed, on very high authority, by one who knew well the opinions of the Christian church, that to them “ there was but one God the Father.” This is no longer true of Christians. To them there is but one God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and he who, now relying upon the authority of Paul, or the Lord Jesus, affirms with them, that “the Father is the only true God,” is, without hesitation, denounced as holding a damnable heresy, and denying the Lord who bought him. Yet, awful to think, this sentence must equally apply to them, as to the Unitarian of the present day, who only affirms what they taught, in their own words.

In my next, I shall, with your permission, proceed to consider the differences of opinion which exist between the Unitarian and Trinitarian respecting the personal dignity of the Lord Jesus, and the salvation which is through him.

LOVE OF THE BEAUTIFUL AND GOOD.

[ocr errors]

Oh! I would like to rise, mother,

These are but earthly joys, mother, When the dew is on the flowers;

Yet they speak of things above; And to wander through the verdant fields, And I see in nature's varied scenes In the sunbright morning hours.

A haud of power and love. I like to watch the hills, mother,

In the fresliness of the morn, mother, With their changing light and shade;

In the radiance of the moon, And the forest trees, that wave aloft

In the calmness of the twilight hour, Their dark boughs o'er the glade.

In night's pale and silent moon. I like to see the sheep, mother,

In the mountain's lofty peak, mother, And to hear their tinkling bells,

In the flowerer's modest grace, Whose silver sound re-echoes far

In each I view the hand of God; Adown the rocky dells :

Through all his love I trace. And I love the cooling breeze, mother, Oh! these are blissful thoughts, mother, And the sky's ethereal blue;

But I know more blissful stillThe thin soft mists, and fleecy clouds, He has prepared a home in heaven, Of varied form and hue.

For those who do his will.

Or I would wander forth, mother,

Should I never taste again, mother, Beneath the noontide ray;

The joys I love so well; I would rest me by the waterfall,

Should I never rove the hill's smooth turi, Amid the dashing spray:

Or repose in the mossy dell; I should hear the warbling birds, mother, There are joys more pure than these, mother, In the branches o'er my head;

There are pleasures all divine; And the nimble-footed bare to start When I pass away from earthly scenes, Forth from his heather bed.

Such pleasures may be mine. And oh! I love to gaze, mother,

Then mourn not for me, mother, Upon the glowing west;

Should health no more return; When the sun has veiled his burning brow, You will raise your hopes above, beyond, And calmly sinks to rest.

The ashes of the urn. And I would walk abroad, mother,

I hear a warning voice, mother, In the silence of the night,

That voice is from on high; When hill, and plain, and stream, and tree, It calleth me, in gentle tones, Are bathed in silver light.

To immortality! I. A. D. Doblis.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Then let me climb the mountain heath

It makes my spirit glad,
To see the smiling vale beneath,

With happy dwellings clad;
Where yellow harvests crown their store,
And friendship stands with open door.
Lough Cuan* amidst her hundred isles

Now leave me in the woodbine glade,

With Spencer's faëry queen;
With Mary, dear departed shade,

Or Wyoming's thrilling scene;
The dying Giaour, or Marmion's fall,
Or Harp ihat hangs in Tara's Hall.

And capes afar is seen;
And Quoise through softestlandscape smiles

On bays of living green;
Where more than landscape beauty dwells,
As many a dear remembrance tells.
To joy in vain my harp I tune,

Among these dying flowers;
The birds that sang so sweet in June

Sit silent in the bowers :
They leave me joyless in my dreams,
Like those who wept by Babel's streams.

St. Dillon,

When pensive musings cloud my brow,

On youth and pleasures fed ;
On friends who live in memory now,

The absent and the dead;
On hopes that flowed like Jordan's river,
To sink in the dead sea for ever:

* Lough Cuan, the ancient name of the Lough of Strangford,

NOTICES OF BOOKS.

The British League ; or, Total Abstainers' Magazine. Price One

Penny We have received the first number of this new periodical, published in Edinburgh, and have been much gratified while looking over the several well-written papers it contains. We are happy to mark the progress which temperance and total abstinence principles are unquestionably making in this and other countries. It is a consolation, whilst accounts of the fatal effects of intemperance fill whole columns of our newspapers, and whilst so many sad cases come under our own observation, to turn to the proofs which the time still furnishes of the spread of better sentiments on this subject.

Among the indications of a decided change in the public mind in reference to the temperance movement, the first place, perhaps, is due to the frequent contributions which are made by the press to what may

be called the temperance literature of the times. Not only have we discourses and addresses advocating the necessity of giving up intoxicating drinks, but what is a still more significant fact, we have many of the secular as well as the religious journals of the day following in the same track. The rapid advance of this great and good cause has called into existence many well-edited periodicals that are doing their work ably and successfully. Among these we may mention The National Temperance Chronicle, The People's Journal, The People's Temperance Weekly Journal, The National Temperance Advocate, The Truth-Tester, The Rechabite Magazine, The Temperance Gazelte, &c. &c. The British League enters on the duties of its mission with great determination. We hope it may prove as irresistible as its motto would seem to declare :

“Lol a cloud's about to vanish

From the day ;
And a brazen wrong to crumble

Into clay.
Lo! the right's about to conquer,

CLEAR THE WAY." In the introductory paper, we have the object of the publication pretty plainly expressed, thus: “We take our stand, then, upon these simple truths, that intemperance originates a vast amount of vice, and aggravates every moral deformity to which our imperfect social institutions give birth. That it often precedes, and always accompanies, the highest guilt and the most grovelling villany ; that it is the primary agent of the seducer, and the companion of every vile and detestable practice ; that it fortifies the swindler in his nefarious intentions, and saps the very base of the noblest purpose in the heart

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »